Sunday, April 17, 2011

Were Women Included in the Genesis 19:4-7 Narrative?

Hi, DJ Green--

Referring to verse 4 you say “In the original Hebrew, the word for man both times is 'ish', whereas the word for people is 'am'.”

Though “men” appears twice, it isn’t the same word in Hebrew. The words “וְאַנְשֵׁ֨י” and “אַנְשֵׁ֤י”.are respectively transliterated “wə’anšê” and “’anšê;” not “ish” as you say. The two nouns are often used in Scripture to convey a collective sense referring to both genders. 

Though you say “the women are passive at best,” don’t forget they were part of the mob surrounding Lot’s house, alongside the men. Remember, it was “כָּל־הָעָם” (all the people) - women included - “מִקָּצֶֽה” (from every quarter) - who demanded from Lot to let them “וְנֵדְעָ֖ה” (know) his guests (v7).

Addressing the crowd, Lot uses the word “אַחַי” (’aḥay) not “אָח” (aḥ) as you say. Your presumption that the term “brothers” is exclusively used of men is incorrect. Cf Lev 10:6, 25:46; 1Kg 12:24; Neh 5:8, etc.

Lot, a foreign resident of Sodom, failed to allow the town elders to scrutinize his out-of-town visitors. To the townspeople, Lot’s actions exposed their entire community to military scouts leading to possible capture and subjugation, or even military annihilation.

Unsurprisingly, all the people, from every quarter of the town of Sodom, men and women, young and old, demanded to “know” Lot’s visitors. They wanted to sexually brutalize these potentially threatening visitors. Why? Rape is a potent assertion of power.

--ez duz it, © Copyright 17 April 2011

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